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  #31  
Old November 4th, 2010, 09:29 AM
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Thank you for offering to help Myka! I was fortunate to get in with the specialist this Monday so that will be the next step.

My regular vet said if I had to wait any longer she was considering sending me to Calgary. I do have many relatives there but not in Saskatoon.


Thank you Goldfields. When something like this happens you always think back and wonder if there is anything more you could have done. I have two dogs and Timber is more difficult to read -- she's very laid back and is not as emotional or sensitive as our older one. It also sounds like you don't have many symptoms with low platelets until they are at a very low level as you mentioned when you begin to see spontaneous bleeding.


I'll let you all know how our appointment goes!
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  #32  
Old November 4th, 2010, 04:46 PM
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Sending for your appt on Monday! I hope you get some answers!
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  #33  
Old November 5th, 2010, 02:18 PM
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Good luck with the specialist on Monday.
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  #34  
Old November 8th, 2010, 10:42 PM
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How did the appt with the specialist go?
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  #35  
Old November 9th, 2010, 12:43 AM
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SuperWanda, I hope you have a diagnosis by now. Decisions would be easier if you know what you are dealing with. It must be so frustrating and worrying.

I am posting a photo of Arie's belly. His groomer took one look and knew what she was seeing , but how unfortunate are we Aussies that her qualifications aren't enough here? She shouldn't be wasting her talent as a dog groomer. I know the owner paid a huge price and was determined to save his precious dog, but really that vet/groomer probably saved her just by alerting him. Scandalous that she can't practice here.
Fingers crossed for Timber, whatever ails her.
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  #36  
Old November 9th, 2010, 01:19 PM
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Thank you all for your thoughts and well wishes for Timber!

Thanks for the picture Goldfields -- it's good to know what the bleeding under the skin may look like. She has a shaved belly right now from her ultrasound but otherwise I don't know how you'd ever detect that on a husky!

I'm not sure how much has really changed in the end but I'm glad we talked to a specialist about it.

Basically we stay on the same track with a few modifications. From the blood work she doesn't like her response to the prednisone (not a strong enough reaction) so we switch her to another steroid and keep her on the Imuran.

We also switch her antibiotic to another potent one just in case she has some weird strain of e-coli that they can't test for. When this all started she had some loose stool so a sample has been sent off today to look for parasites and other possible infections. Although I think these things are rare but I guess it's good to rule them out as well. I have always given heartworm med so they do get de-wormed every month but I guess you never know.

She was fairly upfront that it is hard to know absolutely what is going on and all though we have tried to rule out the possibility of a tumor or cancer it can be missed. There may be something that is difficult to see on x-ray or ultrasound so we treat what we know is true which is the low platelets. That would be a diagnosis of the ITP (Immune-mediated Thrombocytopenia Purpera) and the cause for this is unknown. Some dogs respond to treatment and some do not.

We get her on the new meds and test in a week to see if there are any positive changes in her blood work.

I'm still having a really hard time with this. I am questioning everything just because I think about us possibly nearing the end of her life and I don't want to be making that more difficult for her. That being said, if it is only her immune system and the treatment can increase her platelet counts and she starts feeling better than it would be worth it to me!

This is, however just a guess right now, and that makes me pretty uncomfortable. I like to know all the answers as it makes me feel more in control of the situation and with all the unknowns I feel completely lost and worried but I suppose that is life really. There are no absolutes and I guess we just continue and hope for the best.
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  #37  
Old November 9th, 2010, 06:18 PM
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Goldfields -- How old was Arie when he was afflicted with this? Did they ever learn the cause? Does he remain on medication for the rest of his life?

I was told that if Timber does recover -- no more vaccinations, no heartworm meds, anything that might trigger a relapse.
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  #38  
Old November 9th, 2010, 11:04 PM
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I hope the adjustments to Timber's medications are what she needs to turn everything around for her immune system.

Did you ask your vet or the specialist about contacting Dr Dodds? Glad to hear that they agree about the no more vaccinations for her.

Sending lots of for her next blood test.
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  #39  
Old November 9th, 2010, 11:45 PM
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Arie is 7 and she also is allowed no further vaccinations. They can't possibly know what caused it but she was not de-sexed and here is one good reason for speying females, folks, just coming in season can trigger this. However, there is a big list of things that cause it, so who knows. She is now speyed, off all her meds and they are very pleased with her blood results. It wasn't easy to come this far though, it has cost him $8,200 worth of dedication(he keeps track of the cost) - he refers to her as his child though and just adores her. When she was 8 weeks old I knocked back two other very keen potential buyers for her, so what do you think, did I pick the right one?

I do have a sheltie breeder/ dog Judge friend who lost her top dog(male) to IMHA and in that case they were blaming the Parvo Vaccination.
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  #40  
Old November 10th, 2010, 03:05 AM
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I was doing a search regarding low platelets and metacam, since that drug seems to be causing my GSD's nose to bleed and gums to go pale, when I came across your thread.

PLEASE treat your dog for an ehrlichia/anaplasmosa-like organism. Doxycycline at 10 mg/kg (roughly 5 mg/lb), twice a day is the aggressive dose, perhaps even IV doxy initially, though I don't have experience with doxy in that form.

Tick tests often have false negatives, assuming that we have a test for the right organism. The immune supressant drugs are driving the infection deeper. You won't have the benefit of titers to determine response, you'll have to look at cbc numbers to monitor. Sometimes you will also see changes in the blood count differential. It's important to use antibiotics that are effective against the ehrlichias for this. If that is not effective, then look to drugs that are effective for Babesia.

Good luck, hoping for the best for your Husky!
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  #41  
Old November 10th, 2010, 03:41 AM
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Afterthought, I think low zinc can affect platelets. If your Husky mix is showing other signs of low zinc (often seen in the nose of Huskies), maybe some additional zinc is helpful for support, I dunno?
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  #42  
Old November 10th, 2010, 06:21 PM
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Rainbow -- thank you -- yes, I would still like ask her about Dr. Dodds but haven't yet. Are first apt. was so long as she was trying to go through all the tests results and get herself up to speed with all that has gone on but we will be talking again after the blood test in a week so that is one question I will ask.

Goldfields -- I'm glad Arie is doing so well! it sounds like it is very difficult to find a cause unless you know for sure your dog was exposed to a toxin or just had a vaccination. I can see how the costs start to add up because you have to continually monitor so it's wonderful he was able to persist and see good results.

MaxaLisa -- thanks for your posts -- does your GSD have low platelets from metacam. Was he treated for those tick-borne blood parasites as well?

We are in Manitoba, Canada so don't have Ehrlichiosis here. Anaplasmosis is found in less than 5% of only one species of tick here (Ixodes scapularis) and although that makes it fairly unlikely, we did have her red cells analyzed for Anaplasma phagocytophilum and none were seen.

Thanks for the zinc info as well. I'll look into that. Are there any foods high in zinc? Oysters come to mind but not sure about feeding that to a dog? We have been giving liver because she is slightly anemic.

Hoping for good results next week!
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  #43  
Old November 11th, 2010, 10:53 AM
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Goldfields -- also wondered if Arie lost weight through his ordeal?

We are feeding Timber more but she still looks thin -- her hips and spine are becoming more apparent. She has lost weight so that makes me worry about some type of cancer. Not sure if it is a symptom for just low platelets as well but her appetite is better now -- I think that is mostly from the steroid use.
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  #44  
Old November 11th, 2010, 06:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperWanda View Post
MaxaLisa -- thanks for your posts -- does your GSD have low platelets from metacam. Was he treated for those tick-borne blood parasites as well?

We are in Manitoba, Canada so don't have Ehrlichiosis here. Anaplasmosis is found in less than 5% of only one species of tick here (Ixodes scapularis) and although that makes it fairly unlikely, we did have her red cells analyzed for Anaplasma phagocytophilum and none were seen.
Hi SuperWanda,

My GSD has an infection of unknown origin, all tests are negative.

The metacam has been making his mucous membranes go pale - grey to sometimes white. I'm told that's not a platelet sign, but the last time this happened, it was in response to the antibiotic azithromycin and his platelets had dropped quite low when tested. So out of curiousity the other night I just did a search for metacam and platelets to see what came up, and found your thread.

My boy has an ongoing "low end" platelet issue which gets worse on some meds. So far, the red blood cell count is staying in the low normal range. He does have a "generous" spleen, but nothing out of the ordinary showed up on ultrasound.

Because of my other dog, I've been on the K9 tick list for about the last 10 years - seen lots of dogs and blood profiles go through that list. I've also seen a lot of dogs not make it because they were treated too long with steroids and no antibiotic - often the dog initially responds to the steroids, which seems to confirm it's the right treatment, but then continues to go downhill. These dogs typically do start to respond when doxycycline is finally started, but often it's too late. . Absolutely heartbreaking.

Because of the list, I recognized the signs in my GSD. He responds to doxy treatment used for tick diseases.

In your dog, with the red blood cell problem, and the platelet problem, white blood cell counts, it would be prudent to be using an appropriate "tick antibiotic" along with the steroids. Steroids only in your dog's situation, would scare me. The first rule about tick diseases is that our tests for tick diseases aren't infallible, and we haven't yet learned of all the diseases that they can transmit. It wasn't that long ago that the research was saying that dogs don't get Anaplasmosa. California has a strain of lyme that doesn't show up on some tests. Many things are possible, so remember that those statistics and negative blood results aren't absolutes.

Had someone on another board in a similar situation, but their dog had been bit by a coyote 6 months earlier. All tick tests negative. Platelets finally started turning around after doxy started.

I don't know about the foods and zinc. My friend with the Husky and zinc issue has to give regular supplements, she uses the condition of his nose to determine optimal therapeutic dosage. There's a recommended starting dose for this Husky problem. I think that liver from red meat sources will help with both the anemia and zinc issue?

I am hoping for good news for your girl on the next round of tests!
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  #45  
Old November 11th, 2010, 08:50 PM
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Thanks MaxaLisa -- I'll certainly look into that.

We currently have her on Baytril for 10 days just in case she has a strain of e-coli that they can't test for.

Did you try any other antibiotics before the Doxy?

What were the results of using the Doxy with your GSD? What are his platelet counts? Have you just started the treatment?
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  #46  
Old November 11th, 2010, 09:08 PM
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Goldfields -- also wondered if Arie lost weight through his ordeal?
He said she was currently 10kgs and they want her down to 9kgs. I'd need to ask him did she lose some initially though. I'll try and get him on the phone tonight.
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  #47  
Old November 12th, 2010, 05:16 AM
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SW, my boy has a number of issues, low end platelets is just one. Doxy is his primary abx. He gets better on other abx, but he also has some secondary Staph issues, eye issues, nasal issues, skeletal issues, perianal fistula, the list goes on. His platelets aren't given the opportunity to drop too low - I run regular bloodwork and pulse with antibiotics when they start to get too low. They have only been scary low once with the azithromycin. He doesn't get bloodwork until next week. When my Max was on Baytril, he did improve, but he also developed a delibilitating back problem that I'm still dealing with a year later. I had him on a doxy and low dose baytril regimine, used to treat the ehrlichias and coinfections like Bartonella.

I think what my boy has and what your girl has are probably different to a large degree, or at least manifest in the body differently. The important thing to me is that the blood profile you have is pretty textbook, and I would hate to see a missed opportunity when the stakes are so high.

There is one vet that used to be on the tick list that believes that it takes about 5 yrs for the chronic form of an ehrlichia type disease to develop into a chronic disease that shows in bloodwork. If this is the case, I guess anywhere your girl has been in the last 5 yrs is suspect, and depending on her age, parental exposure is also relevant.
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  #48  
Old November 12th, 2010, 06:53 AM
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SuperWanda, you wrote in one of your posts ....

She did have some blood and mucous in her poop that has since subsided on antibiotics but I guess there are different types of colitis including cancer-related types? Her nose was also bleeding when her platelets really dropped the first time so was that a symptom of the thrombocytopenia or was there another reason for that?

Arie's owner said to tell you that when she had been on Imuran for a week(or 9 days?) , twice daily, she had blood in her droppings too, so they got him to halve the dose and she was okay then in that respect.
Now, some of this I didn't know. Apart from those haemorrhages you can see in that photo, she also had like blood blisters under her tongue and her gums were white. She was very close to dying, with platelets down to 2, 35 RBC count, which dropped to 27, to 23, down to 17, by which time platelets were at 4, but then she started to improve, RBCs up to 120 and he said at 160 they let him take her home. She was still confined for a month and a half though , cage rest you may as well say. Her illness lasted from December last year till August, that's when she was totally weaned off those drugs, and of the total price you would have to deduct $1,000 for a major consultation with a specialist, plus the cost of de-sexing her.
I smile as I say that her owner has only just discovered how nice it is to let a dog sleep on the bed. We could have all told him it's nice, couldn't we? Shelties just love being with their owners.
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  #49  
Old November 12th, 2010, 09:44 AM
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Thanks for that info Goldfields. I really hope that we have the same outcome as Arie did!

MaxaLisa -- It sounds like you have really struggled with your boy's health. I see that you are in California so understand that tick illness can be much more common there.

We haven't been anywhere with our dogs but here. Our dog is 10 years old now. But I will still look into the doxy treatment as I understand not everything can be explained or understood.
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  #50  
Old November 12th, 2010, 01:36 PM
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Hoping you find some answers soon.
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  #51  
Old November 12th, 2010, 10:32 PM
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On the tick subject, our little guy Peewee got 4 ticks last year, so they are definitely in my area, but I suppose Winnipeg isn't all that near to me! When I got titers and yearly blood work done on my older girl (RIP), I always got the Idexx 4Dx SNAP test done which tests Dirofilaria immitis antigen, as well as antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi, Anaplasma phagocytophilum and Ehrlichia canis. I lived in BC at that time with her, and ticks are a more significant threat there I believe. It only costs $50 on top of any blood work panel which I think is worth the stress relief. I'm not sure if the medications Timber is on would inhibit the test...?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperWanda View Post
Thank you for offering to help Myka! I was fortunate to get in with the specialist this Monday so that will be the next step.

My regular vet said if I had to wait any longer she was considering sending me to Calgary. I do have many relatives there but not in Saskatoon.
You're very welcome. If you do end up needing my help PM me as I'm not always able to check the forums, but will see a PM through email that I usually check everyday. If you need, I am home (Saskatoon) now until Tuesday morning.
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  #52  
Old November 16th, 2010, 11:04 AM
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Thank MaxaLisa for looking into the anaplasmosis again. Vet's just don't consider it here -- very few documented cases in Canada but that doesn't mean it's not possible. I'd rather hope for something than nothing.

We have started the doxycycline. Not sure what will happen but I can only hope that what might be an unlikely chance will turn into something positive -- I really want to believe it but it is also very hard and I worry that time is taking it's toll on her.

Blood sample was taken but does look thin.

Not sure I believe in miracles but I am sure hoping for one at this point.

Thanks to everyone for keeping Timber in your thoughts.
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  #53  
Old November 16th, 2010, 12:12 PM
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Weirder things have happened Wanda! Let's hope Timber is another one of these rare cases.
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  #54  
Old November 16th, 2010, 07:58 PM
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I'm happy to hear about the doxy.

Hopefully the blood results will bring some good news - will be checking back to see.

It might not be Anaplasmosa, but something that has the same disease profile. Doesn't matter what it's called, as long as you can find something to fight it.

Hoping for the best...
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Old November 16th, 2010, 09:49 PM
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Sending good wishes and some for an improvement in the next few days, SW! Give Timber a hug from hazel, please.
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  #56  
Old November 18th, 2010, 10:24 AM
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Our blood work is not good. At first I thought it was good because all this time we were hoping for the platelets to go up and they are 141. Two weeks ago they were 54. But she said the red blood cells are down to 2.2 and the white are very high at 41.6.

In her opinion it looks like a cancer in the body that was never found.

Yesterday she lost her appetite -- might have been with the start of the doxcycline but she will only eat cheese, milk and bread. She is very weak and is sleeping a lot but appears to be comfortable.

Just trying to digest this now as I was hoping for some small miracle just in case we were dealing with something treatable.

Thank you to everyone for your advice and thoughts for Timber. It really helped!
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Old November 18th, 2010, 10:50 AM
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I'm so sorry that the news isn't better.

Yes, this could be cancer, but it still could be infection, considering how much pred has been given.

Btw, doxy might be helpful in cancers such as hemangiosarcoma and lymphoma and others (osteosarcoma, etc.)

Here is a "shoulda, coulda, woulda" thread. The dog should have made it (anaplasmosa). The striking thing is how well the dog did on doxy as the pred was weaned. Unfortunately, due to the vasculitis/edema, they kept going back to the pred. I don't know if it will be helpful or not, but the dramatic improvement is worth noting.
http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum...ar-friend.html

Doxy can cause a lot of stomach upset - I don't have problems with it here if I use the capsules. Some folks use probiotics, pepcid, and/or l-glutamine between doses.

Still wishing for the best for you guys :hugs:

Last edited by MaxaLisa; November 18th, 2010 at 11:05 AM.
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  #58  
Old November 18th, 2010, 12:06 PM
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I'm so sorry to hear about the new diagnosis, SW Don't totally give up hope, though. Although the low RBC count is disturbing, the platelets increasing is a good thing and the WBC count could just indicate a response to an infection.

My heart goes out to you I know how difficult it is to care for a sick furbaby, especially when you're not sure exactly what's going on! If she's comfortable that's good. Treasure every minute and love her up!

You're both in my thoughts and prayers. I hope you can find something tasty to tempt her appetite!
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  #59  
Old November 18th, 2010, 12:15 PM
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Any suggestions?

If you have any suggestions please send them our way.

I am still reducing the dexamethasone (not prednisone). Just cut the morning dose in half so she gets 2mg in the morning and 2 mg in the evening. I was told to cut 25% back every 7 days.

She gets 50mg Imuran every other day and was suppose to give it yesterday but didn't. Wasn't sure if I should taper it or if I should just stop it or keep giving it? The vet said to keep giving it because it may keep her comfortable.

I was giving Doxy (100mg tablets) at 10mg/kg of body weight (2.5 tablets twice a day - 250 mg twice a day) but cut that back to 1.5 tablets twice a day because of the loss of appetite.

That is all the meds she is taking. She is very weak but is still drinking goats milk and eating bread and cheese -- has no appetite for any meat product it seems.
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Old November 18th, 2010, 12:41 PM
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I think I'll call MaxaLisa a "thread vet" because I just read her post and my mind is spinning.

As I was crying with the thought of letting Timber go -- I just want to do the right thing. Really don't know what that is right now.
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